CBN approves N2 billion as capital benchmark for fintechs

The Central Bank of Nigeria has rolled out a new capital benchmarks for firms involved financial technology and payment operations.

Those in the first category, involved in switching and processing, as well as mobile money operation, will have a N2 billion shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses, the regulator announced.

According to a document conveying the guidelines published on the bank’s website earlier this week, six categories of payment operators were newly approved by the CBN.

They include those involved in switching and processing, mobile money operators, Payment Solution Services (PSS), Payment Terminal Service Provider(PTSP), Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) and Super Agent licenses respectively.

The top category will escrow refundable N2 billion into a CBN account. The payment must be made in full single lump sum. Escrowed funds are to be invested in treasury bills, subject to availability of treasury instruments, which would be refunded accordingly.

For PSS, the CBN said an escrow of refundable N250 million must be deposited with the CBN, while for entities applying for the three licences will escrow, PSSP – N100 million, PTSP – N100 million, and Super Agent – N50 million.

The same conditions as the first category apply but with varying amounts.

“All written applications should be addressed to the Director, Payments System Management Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja, accompanied by evidence of payments of application fee and other documentary requirements,” the CBN said.

For all of the aforementioned licences, the apex bank said all applicants would be required to pay an application and licensing fee of N100,000 (non-refundable) to the CBN, while a licensing fee of N1 million is to be paid before the issuance of the final licence, if successful.

Nigeria has seen a rise of fintech in recent years and has produced some of Africa’s most notable payment platforms. The best known are Flutterwave, Paystack and Interswitch.

The companies have raised billions of dollars in funding, but some analysts have raised concerns about the regulation of the novel sector constraining innovation in some ways.

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